It was only a couple of weeks ago that Kirsten Gillibrand burst out of her Hudson Valley congressional district and onto the national radar. Even so, she's already begun operating in campaign mode, inching ever-so-slightly leftwar from her more conservative positions with an eye toward the 2010 special election, and, if she wins, another election in 2012. But some internet speculators are peering even further into the future, with an eye toward 2016 — the year Gillibrand runs for president.
On January 23, the same day Gillibrand was tapped by Governor Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton, Michigander Bruce Koldys registered Gillibrand2016.com, Gillibrand2016.org, and GillibrandForPresident.com. Koldys told us that he was "intrigued by her presence on the stage and the surface comparisons to Sarah Palin — not intellectually, but in that she is a new face in the old scene of politics." Koldys says he didn't buy the domains to sell to Gillibrand down the line. Instead, he sees his purchase as a form of "protective custody," defending the address from conservative troublemakers. Or, as he put it more colorfully, "I didn't want some Rush Limbaugh Oxycontin users to grab the sites and put them away forever." (President Bush would have been lucky to have someone like Koldys watching his back: In the run-up to the 2004 elections, a guy named Brian Rodgers snatched up Bush2004.com and turned it into a parody site. Rodgers refused offers of over $100,000 from Bush supporters, telling Wired, "He's a sorry son of a bitch and I'll do anything I can to bring him down.")
About the same time Koldys was snatching up his domains, Hope Michalson Dilbeck, of Bakersfield, California, grabbed KirstenGillibrandForPresident.com. When Gillibrand's appointment was announced, Dilbeck had an "overwhelming feeling" that, with the right political decisions, Gillibrand had "real potential to become a presidential candidate." Though the decision to register the site was "spontaneous," Dilbeck, a lover of politics, does hold out hope that her move will "open a door" to getting involved somehow in a potential presidential campaign.
It's probably for the best that neither Koldys nor Dilbeck are hoping to earn some easy cash off the websites. Even savvy money-motivated domain squatters were largely disappointed during this past election season — though web addresses like GillibrandForPresident.com and KirstenGillibrandForPresident.com seem to be the type Gillibrand would want to own, should she ever decide to run. Luckily for her, Koldys and Dilbeck don't appear to be the greedy type. "If things pan out down the road, I would be more inclined to donate them for her use," Koldys says. "Maybe for a photo session or autographed pic."